What are Load Bearing Walls (LBR’s)?
In homes and buildings, a load bearing wall is one that supports and/or holds up the weight of the roof or an upper floor. Removing these walls without prior planning and without care can compromise the integrity of a structure. Things like sagging, cracks and damage can occur to the building and in severe cases are known to completely compromise buildings through caving in.
Why are Load Bearing Walls Important?
Load-bearing walls are essential for the distribution of weight throughout your home, without load bearing walls, your home would collapse in on its own weight. The path that this weight travels along is called the load path.
During initial designs of a home or structure, architects and engineers will work together to determine the placement of load bearing walls to ensure the structural integrity of a home.
When removing load bearing walls, the weight that the wall was supporting must be distributed along the load path accordingly to support the overall structure. Doing this without care can result in detrimental results in the overall integrity of the structure.
In short, don’t go taking out walls or other structural components of your home without seeking professional help. Your home could quickly collapse or overtime if removed without care.
How Do You Identify a Load Bearing Wall?
Locating and identifying load bearing walls can be difficult and challenging if you are not sure what to look for. It is always our recommendation to trust a professional.
In general, LBR’s are found at the lowest point of the roof. For example, if you have a structure with four walls, at least two of those walls will most likely be load bearing. In most cases, all exterior walls are consider load bearing, while Interior load bearing walls are usually perpendicular to the floor joists, but this is not always the case.
Occasionally load bearing walls can be located in obscure or different areas. Because every home is a unique structure it is always best to trust a professional when determining which walls are load bearing.
What are the Benefits of Removing a Load Bearing Wall?
A design change that is increasing in popularity are open floor plans. This style of home can result in the necessity to remove load bearing walls to increase space in a home by removing walls that may enclose spaces. By removing these walls you may be able to increase space and visibility in a home to give the feel of a larger space without having to increase the square footage of a home.
What am I Able to do with My Home by Removing Load Bearing Walls?
By removing load bearing walls, you really open up the potential to expand the space inside your home without having to do entire home additions. Examples of this could be opening up the space between a living room and kitchen to give the appearance of a larger space. Check out some examples here.
What’s more is, that the new space you’ve opened up is now usable space! You now have more options with what you put in that space, and that is always a great thing to have at your disposal when designing your new home renovation.
Interested to know more about load bearing walls and how they can play a part in your home renovation? Reach out!